New study suggests relationship between BPA, obesity

MIke Verespej

Published: September 19, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Packaging, Consumer Products, Public Policy, Materials, Suppliers

WASHINGTON (Sept. 19, 4:55 p.m. ET) — Children and teenagers with higher levels of bisphenol A are 2.6 times more likely to be obese than those who have lower levels of BPA, according to an examination of data by the New York University School of Medicine.

But the American Chemistry Council immediately disputed the results, released Sept. 18, arguing that the analysis was “incapable of establishing any meaningful connection between BPA and obesity, due to inherent, fundamental limitations in this study.”

“In particular, the study measures BPA exposure only after obesity has developed, which provides no information on what caused obesity to develop,” said Steven Hentges, director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of Washington-based ACC.

“The authors themselves state: ‘Obesity develops over time, and causation cannot be inferred from a cross-sectional association of urinary BPA concentration,’ ” said Hentges, quoting the report. “The authors further state that their work is ‘at best hypothesis-generating,’ indicating that this study is speculative and might, at most, be the basis for conducting additional studies.”

The NYU study team looked at data collected in 2003 and 2004 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and measured body mass and urinary BPA — which is an indirect way of measuring BPA exposure — in more than 2,800 American children and teens.

“Clearly bad diet and lack of exercise are the leading contributors to childhood obesity, but this study suggests a significant role for environmental, particularly chemical, factors in that epidemic,” said lead author Leonard Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at School of Medicine.

“Our study can’t identify obesity as being caused by BPA,” said Trasande in the report, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “But in the context of increasing evidence from experimental studies, it raises further concern, and adds weight to calls for a broader ban on BPA in food packaging.”

However, Hentges disagreed.

“More relevant to actual, real-world safety is the recent, robust [Pacific Northwest] research funded by the Environmental Protection Agency ... that indicates because of the way BPA is processed in the body, it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level,” said Hentges.

“Attempts to link our national obesity problem to minute exposures to chemicals found in common, everyday products are a distraction from the real efforts under way to address this important national health issue,” he said.

Eleven states, the city of Chicago and four counties have banned the use of BPA in polycarbonate baby bottles and sippy cups, even though all major baby bottle manufacturers that make products for the U.S. market agreed in 2009 not to make or sell baby bottles or sippy cups that contain BPA.

In addition to the bans in the United States, BPA is banned in baby bottles in the European Union, Canada and China.

In July, the FDA — in response to an industry petition — agreed to exclude baby bottles and sippy cups from regulations that permit companies to use BPA in food-contact applications.

 “Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food-contact materials, confusion about whether BPA is used in baby bottles and sippy cups had become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators,” said Hentges after FDA issued its decision this past July. “[This] provides certainty that BPA is not used to make the baby bottles and sippy cups on store shelves, either today or in the future.”

BPA is used to make PC and epoxy resins. The materials are used to line metal cans and are found in thermal printer paper and some dental composites and sealants.

An international panel from the World Health Organization said in November 2010 that it “would be premature” to initiate any measures to manage potential risks to public health from BPA.

“Levels of BPA in the human body … are very low, indicating that BPA is not accumulated in the body and is rapidly eliminated through urine,” said WHO.

Those conclusions were reached by WHO just nine days after a peer-reviewed study published online in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology said BPA levels found in canned food — as well as fresh foods wrapped in plastic packaging in the U.S. — are nearly 1,000 times lower than the “tolerable daily intake levels” set by the EPA and the European Food Safety Authority.

It is estimated that more than 8 billion pounds of BPA are produced worldwide every year.


Comments

New study suggests relationship between BPA, obesity

MIke Verespej

Published: September 19, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

2014 US machinery shipments up 6 percent

November 25, 2014 5:17 pm ET

Through the first nine months of 2014 U.S. shipments of primary plastics equipment — for injection molding, blow molding and extrusion —...    More

Image

Globalization brings sizable growth, primarily in Asia

November 25, 2014 1:40 pm ET

In 1990, the year after Plastics News published our first issue, there were 33,000 injection molding machines sold worldwide. Fast forward to 2013,...    More

Image

Taipei Plas vandal and German firm trade lawsuits

November 25, 2014 1:26 pm ET

Taiwan businessman Karma Tang, who splashed red paint at German firm Baumüller GmbH's Taipei Plas booth, is in a messy legal battle.    More

Image

Auxiliary equipment maker Ross expands in India

November 25, 2014 1:12 pm ET

U.S. auxiliary equipment maker Charles Ross & Son Co. is expanding in India, opening a new plant early next year in Pune.    More

Image

Onex buying packaging group SIG Combibloc

November 24, 2014 9:05 am ET

ex Corp. will buy SIG Combibloc Group, the Switzerland-based manufacturer of aseptic carton packaging and plastics closures from New Zealand's Rank Gr...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events